Student Inspired by Forrest Gump Plans 3,200-Mile Coast-to-Coast Run

American student Barclay Oudersluys is making headlines for attempting a 100-day coast-to-coast run, inspired by the movie Forrest Gump. He set off on the epic journey on Saturday, from California’s Santa Monica Yacht Harbor and Pier, and he plans to reach Marshall Point Lighthouse in Maine at the end of 100 days. That’s a total of 3,200 miles, with 32 miles to cover per day.

Barclay is calling his attempt ‘Project Gump’, as it was inspired by the protagonist of the 1994 film Forrest Gump. Although the route covered by Tom Hanks’s character isn’t completely revealed in the movie, Barclay has managed to chart a course quite similar to it, by studying contextual clues.

“I don’t really know what made me want to do it,” he said. “Forrest Gump is my favorite movie. And so when I decided to do this run, I looked up the two points where he had gone to and decided then.” The course he’s charted will take him through California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.


Photo: Facebook

That’s quite a daunting task for someone who has only been running for a few years, but Barclay isn’t new to adventures. He had his first taste of the great outdoors after his freshman year in college, when he biked 700 miles from Michigan to North Carolina during his family’s annual vacation. He did it as a dare from his father. “My family was planning a trip to my grandmother’s house in North Carolina and I was talking to my dad about how we were going to get there. He jokingly said ‘you could just ride your bike.’ So I did,” he said.

The ride took him a week to complete, during which he rested at hotel rooms, on the side of lonely roads, and with kind strangers. The experience inspired him to take up running, and so far he’s done a triathlon, an ironman race, the Chicago Marathon, the Michigan Ultramarathon, and the Spartan Race, among other running events.


Photo: Ann Arbor News

He’s also been training hard for Project Gump, running 15 miles every morning, and another five to ten miles in the evenings, four days a week. “I haven’t had any injuries, so that’s been good,” he said. He consulted his doctor and running analyst before starting the run, who confirmed that he could go ahead with his plans.

“I think the biggest challenge is the overall buildup. Running 30 miles one day is fine, but it’s just going to be about how long and how well I hold up over the course of the entire 100 days,” he said. He’s got to make sure that he consumes at least 6,000 calories per day, in order to fuel his daily runs. So he’ll be eating a lot of rice, granola, tuna fish, chicken, nut butters, and dried fruit.


Photo: video caption

Throughout the course of the run, Barclay will be waking up before sunrise and run about 20 miles before it gets too hot. He will then take a break to recuperate by eating and taking naps at intervals. He plans to run another 10 to 15 miles in the evening. “I’m going to have a friend driving my van to meet me at spots along the way and I’ve talked with a couple of running groups who will run with me certain days throughout the trip,” he explained.

Project Gump isn’t just for Barclay’s personal satisfaction – he’s also trying to raise money for charity through his initiative. He wants to collect $10,000 for the nonprofit Hall Steps Foundation, which provides health care for the impoverished. “It’s just a really great cause,” he said. “I’ve raised a few hundred dollars so far and I’m just hoping to be able to help their young organisation raise money.”


If everything goes according to plan, Barclay will finish his run on August 16. He plans to spend 10 days in recovery, after which he will head off to law school and the University of California-Berkeley. You could follow Barclay’s progress on Project Gump through Twitter, and contribute to his great cause via Crowdrise.

Source: Mlive

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